Delayed healing or nonhealing of bone is an important clinical concern. Although bone, one of the two tissues with scar-free healing capacity, heals in most cases, healing is delayed in more than 10% of clinical cases. Treatment of such delayed healing condition is often painful, risky, time consuming, and expensive. Tissue healing is a multistage regenerative process involving complex and well-orchestrated steps, which are initiated in response to injury. At best, these steps lead to scar-free tissue formation. At the onset of healing, during the inflammatory phase, stationary and attracted macrophages and other immune cells at the fracture site release cytokines in response to injury. This initial reaction to injury is followed by the recruitment, proliferation, and differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells, synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins, angiogenesis, and finally tissue remodeling. Failure to heal is often associated with poor revascularization. Since blood vessels mediate the transport of circulating cells, oxygen, nutrients, and waste products, they appear essential for successful healing. The strategy of endogenous regeneration in a tissue such as bone is interesting to analyze since it may represent a blueprint of successful tissue formation. This review highlights the interdependency of the time cascades of inflammation, angiogenesis, and tissue regeneration. A better understanding of these inter-relations is mandatory to early identify patients at risk as well as to overcome critical clinical conditions that limit healing. Instead of purely tolerating the inflammatory phase, modulations of inflammation (immunomodulation) might represent a valid therapeutic strategy to enhance angiogenesis and foster later phases of tissue regeneration.
Last updated on 09/29/2017
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